Improving the situation of Roma in Bulgaria
The EEA and Norway Grants support to Bulgaria was presented in Sofia this afternoon. Ten percent of the total funding will go to improving the situation of the Roma population.
"We are now launching a unique cooperation with Bulgaria and the Council of Europe aiming to reach out to this vulnerable group. We are also supporting measures within the justice sector, including the fight against trafficking and organised crime," said Jonas Gahr Støre, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Measures to improve the situation of the Roma population are supported in areas such as justice and social welfare. Local and regional authorities will be involved.
"Our aim is to contribute in the fight against discrimination, to improved integration, to labour market training, to access to health services and to strengthening judicial rights. We will also support civil society organisations working to improve the situation of the Roma. At the same time, it’s important to emphasise that these challenges demand a coordinated European effort," said Gry Larsen, Norwegian State Secretary for Foreign Affairs.
Ms Larsen participated in a launch of six Bulgarian programmes under the EEA and Norway Grants in Sofia this afternoon, together with her Bulgarian counterpart Minister for EU Funds Management, Tomislav Donchev. Following the launch, she met representatives from a number of organisations working on Roma issues.
Through the EEA and Norway Grants, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are strengthening their cooperation with Bulgaria in a number of areas. Public entities such as the Norwegian Climate and Pollution Agency, Innovation Norway, the Icelandic Research Centre and the Agency for International Education Affairs of Liechtenstein have established strategic partnerships with Bulgarian counterparts. Transparency International is an important partner on risk management and anti-corruption and jointly organised a strengthening risk management in the Grants in Sofia yesterday. The Council of Europe is involved in five programmes.
Bulgaria has been allocated €126.6 million from the EEA and Norway Grants for the period 2009-2014, with projects to be implemented until 2016. Open calls for funding will start up later this year and partnerships between Bulgarian and donor state entities are encouraged.
Read more: Bulgaria country page